European March, the rally manifesting the desire of Belarusians to join the rest of democratic Europe, took place on Oct. 14. The police claimed some 3,500 people participated, which is twice less the amount the correspondence of Nasha Niva have counted (7,000 – 8,000). No detentions or serious clashes were reported. The police even didn’t prevent people from gathering on October Square, the spot, which is usually out-of-bounds for opposition rallies.
Also check out the blog of Zmitsier Harachka for the view from above
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Vintsuk Viachorka, Viktar Ivashkevich, Anatol Lyabedzka
On Monday the organizers of the European March have tallied up the results of the action.
“The European March has shown that the opposition is able to work together consolidated, which was questioned after the Congress of Democratic Forces”, said Viktar Ivashkevich, coordinator of the March.
“European March is a fest of disobedience, setting people free before the next year, which will become the year of economic crisis and struggle for independence”, believes Vintsuk Viachorka, Chairman of the Party of Belarusian Popular Front.
“Some 7,000 people took part in the European March, but, unfortunately, they are not brought into play during the routine work of the opposition. Few of them will go to the streets to disseminate flyers. If we manage to accomplish this, the next actions will be more numerous”, said Anatol Liabedzka, head of the United Civic Party.
Aliaksandr Klaskouski, Nasha Niva political commentator, writes in his blog “Dots Over “i”, that the European March has reminded him about the events of March 2006:
“For the first time since March 2006 there were white-red-white flags over October Square, and Milinkevich was speaking from the steps in front of the Palace of Labor Unions. A flock of youth was jokingly suggesting whether they should put up tents, using the rare chance of having a rally here.
Some time before, while was approaching the Circus building, I was looking out for the usual sight of shiny “cosmonaut” helmets, but was amazed to see that there was no police cordon. Unstopped, people were freely marching towards the Palace of Labor Unions.
The regime has shown fantastic liberalism and decided not to turn the city center into the “Star Wars” shooting area (riot policemen in their bulky outfits remind me of the “clone attack”)
There are no illusions about authorities changing their way of thinking in some magic way. Still, European March has shown that the regime has to take democratic demands of Europe into consideration. In other words, the outside factors are tightening their grip over the regime’s throat”.